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Cocoonics’ New EP Captures the Psychic Struggles of Modern Life in China

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“How to convey a ball of fire? How to become a blade of grass?”

Shanghai-based producer Cocoonics sets out to answer this question on her new EP wu​.​.​. / HA!

Released via Eating Music, the record has been one and a half years in the making, going back to the creation of the EP’s opener, “Fresh Pandora,” which she made in November, 2019. She says, “I finished the latest track “Can I Still Lay My Hope In This Bed?” literally in the last two weeks. I am slow at making tracks because I am too busy with other work (or I should just be honest that it’s because I am too lazy haha).”

She certainly isn’t lazy. In the aftermath of the release of this new EP, Cocoonics tells us she is gearing up for a launch party at Shanghai underground club Elevator, where she’ll be working with friends by putting together custom installations and visuals for the occasion. She’s also working on sound design for two animators on their films, gathering samples for a future project that will feature Cantonese hollering and taxi driver chit-chat, and she’s also crafting a new track for a newly-formed label in the UK.

That’s a lot.

With that being said, if you buy the wu… / HA! on Bandcamp, you’ll get the EP on a USB stick, a postcard and, perhaps most importantly for these modern times, an orange stress ball embossed with the title of the second song on the EP, “Why The End of the World Has Not Yet Come.”

“The EP has two different vibes, consisting of frailty and rage, which is a constant struggle that I have been experiencing in the past two years. The name wu…/HA! is trying to capture that contrast too,” she tells us, speaking to the EP’s background, while adding, “The four tracks are from different stages of mine. I am just trying to be honest with my feelings and finding an outlet for my emotions. Sometimes music can convey what words can’t. I think those who have a similar experience would connect to my music. The songs are personal, yet universal.”

Reference, for example, the aforementioned “Why The End of the World Has Not Yet Come,” a highly danceable track full of rage and confusion. As Cocoonics tells us, “[that track] depicts a boiling situation when I had to stay at home with my family while receiving all the sad news about Covid-19 during Chinese New Year.”

Speaking about the inspiration behind the other three tracks on the EP, she says, “”Fresh Pandora” is what I gained from an inspiring trip in Setouchi Triennale, “Dawn” is a healing piece I made for my friend’s unreleased animation, while “Can I Still Lay My Hope In This Bed?” is about the powerless feeling during a period of insomnia when a lot of social and political issues happened in Hong Kong.”

It’s a powerful EP that sums up the the past two years in China, full of fluctuation and upheaval.

In celebration of the release of wu…/HA!, Cocoonics has put together a china.wav mix for us this month, featuring her own tracks and songs from artists who have been inspiring her lately.

Talking about her choice of songs, she tells us, “In this mix, I selected tracks from my upcoming EP and one of my past releases, Plague. Because the vibe in the EP wu…/HA! is going from something organic to something industrial, this set has a similar idea. Besides that, I collected some tracks that I have referred to when making the EP, including some noise rappers like Moodie Black and Zebra Katz, also some punk influences from the newly formed Hong Kong band N.Y.P.D, my recent favourite band IDLES, Rubberbandits (who I discovered from my favourite film Trainspotting), and a talented metal duo Black Dresses. You can see where my inspiration comes from and have a peek at my music taste, which would be different from some of my dance music focused sets.”

Cover image courtesy of Cocoonics

Bryan Grogan
Bryan is RADII's former culture editor. He is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with an interest in culture stories with a social bent. He once correctly guessed all 151 original Pokemon in seven minutes for an online quiz. He also correctly guessed all 100 second generation Pokemon in eight minutes for an online quiz.